Aleksandr Hleb once again opened up about his time at Arsenal under the ‘unbelievable coach’ that is Arsene Wenger.

  • Hleb made 89 league appearances for Arsenal over three years
  • Believes Wenger is untouchable for another season
  • Describes himself as ‘100% happy’ when he was at Arsenal

Hleb signed for Arsenal from Stuttgart in 2005 and despite only being in north London for three years, described it as the happiest time in his career.

The ex-midfielder credits Wenger with making his time at Arsenal so special and believes that the Frenchman, who has just signed a new two-year deal with the club, deserves to ‘not be touched’ until at least next year.

“Wenger always supports his players,” Hleb told FourFourTwo.

“He feels what young players think. He doesn’t need to come to you and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ because he already knows. People criticise him, but he’s fantastic. Arsene is Arsenal. Everyone associates the club with Wenger. We all want titles, but every club goes through difficult periods.”

He went on, “I would not touch Wenger until next year. Give him until the end of next season. He can create another title-winning team, I am sure of it. It’s easy to criticise from the sidelines but I don’t see another manager coming to Arsenal and keeping the identity, the beautiful football, which Arsene has brought to the club.”

As highly as Hleb talks about Wenger and Arsenal, he chose to leave in 2008 for Barcelona where his career plummeted. He struggled for playing time and went on to play just 710 minutes in La Liga before being sent out on loan to former club Stuttgart, followed by Birmingham City and then Wolfsburg.

“People always ask me why I departed but it’s hard to explain,” the former Belarus international admitted. “I don’t know why. I also ask myself why I left.”